From prom dress collections and scrubbing classrooms to Angel Tree donations and cleaning playgrounds, Salve Regina University students exhibit the spirit of service in partnership with Child & Family. For over fifteen years, Salve has been a friend to Child & Family and their dedication has earned them one of this year’s Volunteers of the Year honors.
As part of the Feinstein Enriching America Program, all students are required to volunteer at least ten hours in their four years of college. A great number of Salve young people participate with Child & Family programs in fulfilling their service hours and many students give far more than the minimum hours.
Each year, some students become long term service advocates serving from 100 to 300 hours at Child & Family. Deepening their involvement, volunteers have worked on projects such as classroom programs, reading to children and managing clothing and book drives. As they give of themselves, they grow through their service. Volunteering has led to internships and employment and has inspired changes in career paths.
“Students may enter the volunteer experience thinking they’re just holding babies, for example, but then they learn and come to understand that they’re witnessing how students develop,” says Kelly Powers, coordinator for Salve’s Feinstein Enriching America Program.
Serving within the comprehensive programs that Child & Family offers has allowed students to explore areas of future interest including disciplines from business, social work, and marketing, to sanitation, early child development and physical therapy.
Powers adds, “It’s eye opening and our students realize they’re not just volunteering but that there is truly a need and that they’re making a difference.”